I’m always thinking about how to use video screens to make the show play bigger. It’s technology that 10 years ago really wasn’t within the grasp of the average magician, but now for less than $1,000 you can have a compete set up…even less if you already have a laptop computer!
One of the things about the Micheal Buble show that I was recently at, was that the screens weren’t just for making him bigger. There were three screens and sometimes there was a “set piece” like a the moon above. Sometimes it was a close up of a band member or the audience in the middle with Buble on the sides or vice versa.
This is something that doing a couple seasons on Masters of Illusion taught me, that the background adds a lot. In their tech sheet they ask if there’s something you want as your background. Something simple like adding a picture of a workshop when you’re doing a bit about inventing a trick, or a picture of your wife when you’re doing a routine about your wife adds a lot of production value to your show, and that’s just still images.
One of the cool things about having a 3D printer is it helps me make my ideas a reality, and do it fairly easily. Last week I got the idea in my head of having a remote control party popper. If you don’t know what a party popper is, it’s a little tube with a string. You pull the string, there’s a bang and and little streamers shoot out.
The mechanism is pretty simple, it’s going to be a motor on a remote control. The party popper needs something to hole it in place, so I designed a little holder for it, with a hole in the back:
The plan is to attach this to a board with the battery, remote receiver and motor. To load it, you’ll put in the party popper, tie the string to the motor and when you’re ready, simply push the on button on the remote.
We’ll see if this actually works once I put it together later today… -Louie
Over the last year or so I’ve been wanting to add more production value to my show. One of the ways is using video elements, the added bonus to using video elements is that using them takes up virtually no space in your case, but can play extremely big! The challenge is that it’s hard … Continue reading “Production Value…”
Over the last year or so I’ve been wanting to add more production value to my show. One of the ways is using video elements, the added bonus to using video elements is that using them takes up virtually no space in your case, but can play extremely big! The challenge is that it’s hard to run if you’re a solo show that plays places that have minimal tech.
On the recommendation of a friend who is a hypnotist, I ordered the Media Star Pro.
This is a remote system for music and video. I haven’t used it in a show (yet), but really like how it works at home. I’ll be trying it out at a live show soon.
The hidden bonus with Media Star Pro is that it comes with software to run music, and video with. This software was pretty easy to use, and my first attempt at running something “complex” is going to be for a workshop I’m teaching in about a week. It’s going to have still images and video in the presentation and I’ll be suing the Media Star Pro to run that. We’ll see if I still like it after that!
Yesterday on the stage that I’m performing on at a county fair there was no sound tech. This is fine for me, as I reasonably understand how to turn on a PA and use a sound board. It’s really not hard, since I’m not singing to get my voice to sound right. When I first … Continue reading “Be Prepared!!!!”
Yesterday on the stage that I’m performing on at a county fair there was no sound tech. This is fine for me, as I reasonably understand how to turn on a PA and use a sound board. It’s really not hard, since I’m not singing to get my voice to sound right. When I first got into performing and encountered sound boards, I asked the tech to show me the basics. I learned what all the knobs do, I barely understand how to use them, however I can get my show up and running (usually) without a sound tech.
On the stage I was performing on there was a dance school right after my show. I finished my show and unplugged my cords and put them with my stuff. The leader of the dance group freaked out, she didn’t know what to do for her audio. She was very unprepared. She asked for my help, and I asked her if she had brought a cord? She said she didn’t know she needed one, and I told her I didn’t know I needed one either.
Here’s the kick in the butt, she didn’t even have the right connector to get her iphone to connect to the standard 3.5mm cord!!! Even if there was a cord, she couldn’t have plugged her phone into the sound board.
I really wanted to pull her aside, but she was mid-meltdown and tell this is a teachable moment. Instead of freaking out, she should get her dancers and tell them the problem and it being a result of her not being prepared for the worst. As a performer that’s a good skill to have. If you have a prop or piece of gear that’s easily lost, have two of them. If there’s an essential cord or adapter that the venue should have, but cost less than $10 and easily fits in your bag, you should have one!
For under $50 she could have a mic, mic cord, and a cord to plug her iPhone in. She really should have a dedicated iPhone for the show, and her personal phone should be a back up. After seeing how she reacted at how unprepared SHE was, I wouldn’t let my kid go to her dance school.
About a week ago I wrote a blog post about working with a guy that did a superhero character. His show was an “anti-bully” show and unfortunately it really couldn’t hold an audience at a fair. I’m sure there are venues where it can hold an audience, like at a church youth group for younger … Continue reading “All Sizzle, No Steak…”
About a week ago I wrote a blog post about working with a guy that did a superhero character. His show was an “anti-bully” show and unfortunately it really couldn’t hold an audience at a fair. I’m sure there are venues where it can hold an audience, like at a church youth group for younger school age kids, but not at the fair.
The show had a great costume for the main performer, and all of the other performer’s costumes were really an after thought, and not much energy was put into them when compared to the main performer’s costume. Consistency across the board with your props or costumes really makes a difference. Think about having a brand new suit, and wearing old faded, scuffed up shoes with it, that just doesn’t look right.
The anti bully, superhero show had a video intro, which really didn’t make sense. They were lugging a big TV and screen for a 30 second intro that didn’t add to the show. It’s a prop that felt like they bought simply because they had seen other shows that used video intros. To me it felt like the kind of intro that church’s use for kids youth groups for programs that they buy. Many summer bible day camps have themes and some makes and sells “canned” camped, where the church gets everything they need from videos to props, to decorations. This intro felt like it was trying to be that.
The show felt like it had a lot of energy put into things that didn’t matter, where the energy should have been put into the content of the show. I’ll write about what was actually in the show another day. My theory is you should build the substance first, then put the fluff around it later.
One of the things I noticed while watching Shawn Farquhar’s show the other day was his use of production value in the show. It’s something that a lot of magicians, especially ones who come out of the comedy world don’t use enough of. It’s also something that adds a lot to the show. For example … Continue reading “Production Value and You”
One of the things I noticed while watching Shawn Farquhar’s show the other day was his use of production value in the show. It’s something that a lot of magicians, especially ones who come out of the comedy world don’t use enough of. It’s also something that adds a lot to the show.
For example he uses different lighting for different parts of the show, not just a general wash. This adds texture to the show, however it’s something that you can’t do in most non-theater venues. Some higher end corporate events or conventions in ballrooms will have lighting options. I’ve only encountered this a few times in hotel ballrooms.
My opinion is to design a show that works both ways. So it piece will work and play with a general wash, however when you have the option for lights, you can use it.
I keep a thumb drive with everything a theater could want on it in my case. This has all of my cues from lighting, video to audio, as well as the audio files. I always have it, so if I have someone to run the lights, I’m good to go!